Australia is huge and it would take a lifetime to see it all. I know, I’m stating the obvious.
With a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres, a coastline spanning 25,760 kilometres and 20 percent of our land classed as desert there’s a lot of sublime nothingness to explore.
My latest published article focuses on some of that vastness on our half lap last July.
I’m always thrilled to have an article in print and this one, in the current (September/October) edition of On the Road magazine is no exception.
On our six week road trip last year we drove 9000kms through five states, crossing borders, enjoying an epic adventure whilst barely scratching the surface of outback Australia.
My article showcases a small part of our journey.
Australia’s longest shortcut
From Alice Springs and the East Macs we could have continued up the Stuart Highway and travelled across into Queensland on the bitumen Barkly Highway. However, we decided to take the adventurous route, along the Plenty ‘Highway’, which is part of the Outback way. As I wrote …
“The Outback Way is epic, there’s no doubt about it. Comprising seven interconnecting roads that go from Laverton Western Australia through to Alice Springs and finishing in Winton Queensland, it’s a mind boggling short cut, so vast and remote.
The most traffic we encountered were stray cows wandering across the road, though every so often a salute from a fellow caravanner reassured us we weren’t the only travellers out there.”
It was a dirty ride.
Dirty, slushy and, oh, so much fun. There was one ‘moment’ behind the wheel where I thought I was going to lose it. “Gun it” said the other half as I hammered through in four wheel drive, the red mud resembling a sinking pool of lava.
It had rained heavily the week before and the road had just reopened.
I remember feeling euphoric when we reached Tobermorey right on dusk, an outback cattle station with basic facilities yet to us an oasis of green after our day on the red earth tracks.
Beyond Tobermoray is more red dirt and an expanse of earth and nothingness that seeps into your soul. There’s something about big blue skies and an endless horizon that is infinitely peaceful. I never thought I would be so affected.
Middleton – the most remote pub in Outback Queensland
The next day we crossed the border into outback Queensland and the Plenty ‘Highway’ eventually gave way to a more civilised road. But still we felt in the middle of woop woop, i.e. miles from anywhere.
At dusk we reached our next destination, Middleton, the most isolated pubs in outback Quensland. Population 3.
Here we are, laying claim to our patch of earth at the ‘Hilton Hotel”.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Hilton? Where’s the five star luxury, the spas and fancy restaurants? Where’s the high speed WiFi? Well, out here amid this red earthy landscape, you ain’t gonna find any of that.
What we’re graced with instead are five million stars under a clear sky and a sense of peace that connects you to something far more real.
Not to mention the pub across the road that serves a damn good roast pork meal.
As I summed up in my article “We pulled out our chairs and … I’m transfixed at the changing hues around us. The sense of isolation and the big spectacular skies epitomise outback Australia. This really is a land of plenty, it is vast and abundantly primitive and exploring even just part of its epic route is an adventure that will stay with you forever.”
It did for me.
It took months after we returned to get rid of all the red dust underneath the car and the camper. Tangible reminders of an epic short cut along one of Australia’s longest routes.
May you all find your own shortcut and enjoy whatever destination your journey is leading you on.
In light and love as we keep enjoying the journey, short cuts and all.
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Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”